Portuguese sidewalks are unlike anything you have seen. The "Calçada Portuguesa" is an ancient paving art based on Roman mosaics. This art transforms mundane walkways into masterpieces. And, there is no shortage in the Azores.
Some of the techniques introduced by the Romans are still applied on the Calçada. Today, many of Portugal's public squares, open spaces, and sidewalks have been painstakingly transformed into these mosaic murals featuring animals, floral decorations, coats of arms, historic scenes, and elaborate patterns--all by hand-placing small black and white stones.
Upon a well-compacted layer of sand and grit, craftsmen (called "calceteiros") lay a bedding of gravel to act as cement for the stones. Then, the tiny black and white stones are chipped to fit perfectly into a pattern. Lastly, the stones are packed down with a huge wooden mallet.
The art of Portuguese sidewalks defines Portugal urban life and makes its cities uniquely Portugal.